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COVID-19: A black swan opportunity for officiating?

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Many State officiating associations have long suspected a rise in the number of registered sports officials when unemployment levels increase, such as during times of recession.

“Our highest number of officials has been during the (GFC) recession and a little longer after that. Once the economy got good again, we’re back down to where we were before the recession” says Todd Stordahl of the Washington Officials Association. claims to have analyzed registration data provided by 4 US State sports official associations for a 10-year time period during and after the global financial crisis finding a negative correlation between economic indicators and the numbers of registered sports officials.

“When the nation is suffering economically, there is an influx of new people seeking to become officials”

This sentiment is echoed by Dr Robert Doan from Charleston Southern University. “In times of economic need sports officiating is an enticing option. When the economy is well recruiting officials is more difficult.”

Presuming the above holds true, do these unprecedented times also present an unprecedented opportunity for our industry to boost numbers of officials in the coming years? Experts believe it will be 3-5 years before many industries and businesses recover fully.

Is now the right time to ensure the many systems and process in place for officiating are being reviewed and optimized to capitalize on this opportunity?

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